For other people named Richard Harrison, see Richard Harrison (disambiguation).
Richard Kevin "Rick" Harrison (born March 22, 1965) is a Las Vegas businessman and reality television personality, best known as the co-owner of the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, as featured on the History series Pawn Stars. Harrison co-owns the pawn shop with his father, Richard Benjamin Harrison, which they opened in 1989. Harrison dropped out of high school in order to pursue his "$2,000-a-week business of selling fake Gucci bags".
Rick Harrison was born on March 22, 1965 in Lexington, North Carolina, the third child of Richard Benjamin Harrison, Jr. a U.S. Navy veteran, and Joanne Rhue Harrison. Harrison is the younger brother of Sherry Joanne Harrison (died aged six suffering with down syndrome), and Joseph Kent Harrison, and the older brother of Christopher K. Harrison. Rick Harrison's son, Corey Harrison, has mentioned that his grandmother stated that they are related to President William Henry Harrison. Harrison has indicated that he does not give much credence to this idea, though Harrison's father has stated that they are distantly related to Benjamin Harrison, the grandson of William Henry Harrison.
During the whole of his childhood, Rick suffered from Grand Epic Mal Seizures. Those made Rick to have only chunks of school and spend most of the time to cry in pain. Those seizures made Rick's body so weak that he was not able to walk a few inches without pains. During the time of the rest from seizures, Rick read a lot of books. Mobiles were not invented and there was only one radio in the house (in the room of Rick's parents) so rick was left to his books and ice packs on his hamstrings.
In 1967, Harrison's father was transferred to San Diego, California, and the family relocated with him. As a child, Harrison suffered from epileptic seizures starting at age eight, which would confine him to bed, and led to a lifelong love of reading. He became particularly enamored of a series of books by John D. Fitzgerald called The Great Brain, whose main character, a ten-year-old Utah con artist named Tom D. Fitzgerald with the ability to conjure up money-making schemes, greatly influenced Harrison. Harrison also developed a love of books in general, in particular on physics and history, with his favorite area of historical study being the British Navy, from the late 1700s to the early 1800s. Harrison attended Taft Middle School, which is part of the San Diego Unified School District, but dropped out during tenth grade.
The Harrison family relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada, in April 1981 after the collapse of his parents' real estate business. When Harrison was 17, his girlfriend Kim became pregnant. Despite a subsequent miscarriage, the couple decided to marry. Two months after their wedding, Kim was pregnant again and their first child, Corey Harrison, was born on April 27, 1983. Within two years, their second child, Adam, was born. Harrison worked for his father in the Gold & Silver Coin Shop, and even worked repossessing cars. Soon after Adam's birth, Harrison and Kim separated, with Harrison and his second wife, Tracy, assuming the responsibility of raising his sons.
Harrison's net worth has been estimated to be $7 million USD.
Harrison and his father opened the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop less than two miles from the Las Vegas Strip in 1989. By 2005, Harrison and his father were loaning out about $3 million annually, which brought them about $700,000 in interest income. A year later, in 2006, Harrison was known in Las Vegas as a pawn broker having special sports items that came complete with a story, including a 2001 New England Patriots Super Bowl ring that belonged to American football cornerback Brock Williams. His business also served gamblers who, according to his son, often came in to "pawn something so they have gas to get back home."
According to Harrison in 2010, the items most often brought into the store are jewelry. Since the inception of Pawn Stars, Harrison's inventory now has a ratio of 5,000 items pawned per 12,000 overall. In 2010, the National Pawnbrokers Association awarded the Pawnbroker of the Year Award to Harrison for his contributions in enlightening the public about the pawn industry.
Harrison spent four years pitching the idea of making a show about a pawn shop after his shop was featured in the show Insomniac with Dave Attell in 2003, but his efforts did not yield success. In 2008, Brent Montgomery and Colby Gaines of Leftfield Pictures came up with an idea about a reality show based in a Las Vegas pawn shop and approached Harrison. The series was originally pitched to HBO, though the network preferred the series to have been a Taxicab Confessions-style series taking place at the Gold & Silver's night window. In a February 2009 YouTube video titled "Pawn star$", Corey Harrison promised to gun down an intruder with a handgun he displayed, and a woman screamed as she was removed from the store after demanding that the wedding ring her husband sold to the shop be returned.
Nancy Dubuc of the History Channel changed the format, which included on-camera experts appraising the items brought into the Gold & Silver as well as personality dynamics of the store's staff and patrons. Initially to have been titled Pawning History, the program was renamed Pawn Stars at the suggestion of a Leftfield staffer, playing off the term "porn stars" for more marketing appeal. The show features Rick and his father, Richard Harrison (generally referred to on the show as "The Old Man") along with his son Corey ("Big Hoss") and Corey's childhood friend and employee Austin "Chumlee" Russell. In January 2011, Pawn Stars was the highest rated program on the History Channel, and the second-highest rated reality show behind Jersey Shore.
Harrison appeared as himself, alongside his son Corey and Chumlee in "iLost My Head in Vegas", the November 3, 2012 episode of the American TV series iCarly. Four days later, he appeared as an antique store owner in "The Safe", the November 7, 2012 episode of the TV series The Middle.
In January 2014, Harrison became spokesperson for the Micro Touch One Razor, a personal care shaving product for males. Harrison appeared in a television commercial promoting the One Razor product line.
In June 2014, History premiered United Stuff of America, a series from the producers of Pawn Stars that focuses on notable artifacts that were used in important moments in history, such as the cane with which Andrew Jackson fended off a presidential assassin, the axe Abraham Lincoln used as a young rail splitter, and the pencils Ulysses S. Grant used to write his memoirs.
In July 2014, the game show Pawnography premiered on the History Channel. Harrison, Corey, and Chumlee compete against players in an attempt to prevent them from winning cash and items from the inventory of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop.
In 2011, Harrison published a biography called License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver. His book reached #22 on The New York Times Best Seller list on June 26, 2011.
In 2012, Harrison, twice divorced, announced his engagement to Deanna Burditt, who was also twice divorced. The couple married on July 21, 2013, in Laguna Beach, California. Counting Cars star and car expert Danny Koker became an ordained minister and performed the ceremony, while Pawn Stars costar Austin "Chumlee" Russell served as a ring bearer.
Harrison has two sons, Corey and Adam, with his first wife Kim, and one son, Jake, with his second wife, Tracy. Adam worked at the pawn shop, and later became a plumber. He has no plans to appear on the show.
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